Today’s grammatical grotesqueries come to you courtesy of the FEI, where the horses have ‘extended gates’, the rules become ‘reglements’ and rider’s are ‘proud on’ their horses. The press release for the final WC dressage qualifier in s’-Hertogenbosch this past weekend revealed further evidence that the dressage press releases are being created with the help of a translating program, and without any Anglophile intervention before hitting cyberspace. “Six Olympic combinations not being the least pairs.” “And proud, so was Anky.” I just don’t get it. I know for a fact that there are lots of highly eloquent people working at Mission Control, and editing a press release is not particularly time consuming. Heck, they could even get help from whoever wrote the jumper release at the same show. Other than a couple of comma splices, it’s absolutely fine.
There was, on the other hand, nary a spelling mistake in Friday’s press release which announced the FEI’s new online TV website (www.feitv.org). Of course the release was just one sentence long, but what a good sentence it was. Now, I consider it my solemn blogging duty to try out websites and new technologies and then tell you if they are any good, so I just coughed up US$79.99 for a one year subscription to FEITV. I checked out the WC dressage in Amsterdam but all they had was Anky’s winning freestyle with Painted Black. It was a great performance (please bring Painted to Vegas, Anky. He may not win but he is just so charming), but as the only video footage it hardly qualifies as top notch, unfettered coverage of the event. I know, I’m being impatient. The site launched only on Friday so I should give it a little time to get up to full speed. I also had a look at Jumping WC Bordeaux, and the whole competition is on there in four videos. The resolution is high, the sound excellent (I love the accent of the Bordeaux jumping commentator – he puts me in mind of of my Yorkshire grandfather), but there is one disappointment. There is no way to make the image full-screen. The picture box is youtube sized, though perhaps I am expecting more of the technology than can be provided right now. I watch my Rick Mercer and Daily Show on the small screen because when I go to full-screen everything gets fuzzy. Full screen or not, I should think FEITV has Bernie of HorseTV.com grinding his teeth at night.
So is FEITV good for the sport or is it going to keep the fans at home instead of in the stands? Televising the Super Bowl hasn’t emptied the stadium, but we’re talking horses, not major team sports. In order to fill the Thomas & Mack for the WC final, thousands of people need to be persuaded to buy plane tickets, rent cars, stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and buy event tickets. If they can watch the WC final from home on their computers, they will save a bundle of cash. Or will the online TV network increase the fan base of our beloved sport? I suspect both, but only time will tell. I think the economic situation has probably made this year’s WC Final in Vegas a harder sell than in ’05 and ’07. I know a lot of people who are giving Sin City a miss this year (for some, one visit to Vegas in a lifetime is plenty), and I am curious to see how full the stands will be next month.
And while we’re on the topic of WC, will the Sjef and Anky drama never cease? According to Astrid at Eurodressage.com, Sjef is declaring war on the rule that he himself pushed through. The rule requires all WC finalists to have taken part in a minimum of two qualifiers with the horse they take to the Final. Anky has qualified on Painted Black, but has a better chance of winning – yet again – with Salinero, who did only one qualifier. Hiring lawyers to break a rule he participated in creating is taking the ‘rules are made to be broken’ philosophy as far as it can go, don’t you think? I know that Sjef gets a lot of people quaking in their loafers, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that I think his attitude stinks. “With Painted she can win a medal, or finish eighth. And for that she won’t travel half the globe. If she goes, she goes to win.” Well, Sjef, lots of other people travel half the globe to finish well out of the winner’s circle. What about old-fashioned sportsmanship? What about giving back to the sport that gives you so much? What about the wonderful element of surprise that excites audiences when the winner isn’t a foregone conclusion? If Painted Black goes to Vegas, I am absolutely sure there will be thousands of people who will thoroughly enjoy watching Anky and Painted tango their way (thanks to Slings and Kerkhoff) to whatever placing they achieve. And I’m sure she won’t bring the wrong CD to this gig.
Which leads me to my final word of the day – and I hope it’s my final word ever on this particular theme – which is a plea to Cees and Theo to take it outside, and not use my blog as your personal mud wrestling pit. As commenter Lita so aptly pointed out, you fellows have strayed far off topic (though I do see the humour in the fact that two Dutch men are bickering in English). I welcome comments, criticism and controversy, but only if they actually pertain to something I wrote. CotH is the ideal forum for bitchfests and phony names, and relevance is not a requirement. Have at ‘er gentlemen, but please use my blog only to sling mud at me, not each other.